1. Thunberg becomes Time Person of the year
Time lauded the 16-year-old from Sweden for starting an environmental campaign in August 2018 that became a global movement, initially skipping school and camping in front of the Swedish Parliament to demand action.
“In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history,” the magazine said.
“Margaret Atwood compared her to Joan of Arc. After noticing a hundredfold increase in its usage, lexicographers at Collins Dictionary named Thunberg’s pioneering idea, climate strike, the word of the year.”
The top five on the shortlist were Nanci Pelosi, Donald Trump, The Whistleblower, The Hong Kong Protestors, and Thunberg.
These were followed by Mark Zuckerberg, Xi Jinping, Megan Rapinoe (an American soccer player), Rudy Guiliani and Jacinda Adern.
People are perhaps selected for their impact rather than because of the good they have done. Previous recipients have included Hitler, Stalin and Krushchev, as well as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The award started in 1927 as “Man of the Year” which continued until 1999 in spite of the award going to American Women in 1975. On the whole politicians dominate the list.
Of this year’s shortlist, Trump (2016) and Zuckerberg (2010) have already had a turn.
2. UK election
The rule of thumb seems to be that the result falls outside the band of poll predictions. However, it is perhaps salutory to realise that the Conservatives won a thumping majority on just 43.6% of the vote. If they end up with 365/650 seats, that means they win 56% of seats.
Peter Brent’s analysis was that Brexit was the decisive factor with a small minority of voters. He says that the popular takeout that the election was “another clip under the ear for out-of-touch elites, another blow for populism” was predictable, tiresome and wrong.
He says that if you add together Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green votes then a little over 50 per cent of UK voters went for a party that wanted a second referendum on Brexit.
The main factors deciding the election are probably:
- Corbyn – one of the most disliked PM aspirants ever
- Labour’s policies
- the ridiculous first past the post voting system
- the weather.
Labour’s vote was down 7.8% on current figures to 32.3%.
The LDP’s vote went up by 4.2%, but they lost gained 3 seats and lost 13 to end with 11.
Brexit Party, a new party, gained 2% and no seats. However, in some northern traditional Labour seats the vote was higher than that, up around 8%.
The Greens gained 1.1% to end with 2.7% and no seats, as before.
Two other factors were significant. Firstly, the Scottish National Party increased their vote and will probably win 48 of the 56 seats in Scotland.
Secondly, it looks as though the Irish representatives oriented towards Ireland will outnumber the Unionists.
In both cases Johnston may have more trouble governing for the people who put him there, and trouble keeping the country together. Some think he may be more progressive and less devoted to small-government austerity than the Brits have experienced from the Conservatives since Thatcher.
As to who will lead Labour, five of the six main contenders are women. However, they are all Corbyn supporters, and David Hayes commentary typifies the visceral nature of the hatred for Corbyn, who some see as having degraded and poisoned the party.
3. Word of the year
It depends who you ask.
Merriam Webster have chosen “they” as a gender neutral pronoun used in place of “he” or “she”.
- cancelled or “cancelled culture” basically means if you or anyone does something that’s considered “bad” (being racist, sexist ,manipulative etc.) you would most likely be “cancelled” , basically means no one would look at you in a good way anymore, no respect, etc. this is mostly found on the internet and people who are mainly “cancelled” are celebrities and online influencers
I’d never heard of it, but on reflection I’ve done it a few times. For example, after Josh Frydenberg stood next to Jay Weatherill and babbled on about renewables causing blackouts, when it was a f***ing great storm, I’ve never been able to take him seriously about anything.
The Oxford Dictionary chose “climate emergency”, Collins chose “climate strike” and Macquarie gave “eco-anxiety” an honourable mention.
4. The real Angus Taylor at Oxford
Independent Australia has published an open letter from Dr Denise Meyer who lived just down the hallway from Angus Taylor when he was at Oxford. She says Naomi Wolf was not there, nor did she visit. However, she remembers Angus Taylor explicitly:
You may not remember when I questioned you about your intention to join New College’s covert men-only drinking society. Known for an exclusive ball where female students receiving sought-after invitations were rated for beauty/sexiness in a secret members’ competition, this not-so-secret club was populated with all the rowing club jocks and wealthy public schoolboys who dominated common room culture.
We were just acquaintances, but you seemed like a nice guy. And I wanted to understand why you and so many of your peers were drawn to that environment. So I asked. Had you thought about what it might feel like to be your female peer, barred from membership in your exclusive club and aware of the implicit evaluation of her taking place whether she was invited to the ball or not? About the message it sent me about where my worth lay and how I didn’t really belong? Were these really your values and what you stood for?
As I recall, your reaction to having your choices questioned was similar then to your reaction when Naomi Wolf refuted your story and called you out on your language — injured outrage at being “criticised” and sulky resentment for someone trying to spoil your fun. And seeing yourself as the one in need of an apology.
If I were PM I’d cancel Angus Taylor.